Shinji remembered that the catapault in Tokyo 3 was a rougher ride than what was happening to him at that moment. He thought the trip from start to the surface was faster back then, and how he felt at that time the g-forces pulling him down in the entry plug's seat. Now, it seemed to him at that moment the Eva was going up at a slower pace, as if he was on a kiddy park ride, and there was little to no g-force. He figured that because the base was not a deep as the Geofront had been, perhaps it didn't have to have those strains put upon a pilot. Maybe it was her first time launching, was why it seemed like Joanna was having a tougher time when he was watching her launch on the monitor. These few seconds of thought ended as the the daylight burst onto the plug monitors followed by grand view of the weapons fire and destruction that lay before him.
"Final safety locks released," he heard Aida say over the com system. "Move out and get to Joanna."
"Understood," Shinji said. He had Unit 10 reach for the rifle, and as the claws on the Eva's arms retracted, a small hand came out of each arm. Unit 10 grabbed the rifle and took off to where Joanna was holed up. Within seconds, dozens of spheres were rushing towards it, a barage of beam fire streaming towards the Eva. Unit 10 dodged the beam blasts, never losing its pace.
Shinji then noticed out of the corner of his eye several ribbons shooting right towards him. He had Unit 10 leap out of the way, seconds before the ribbons struck the ground, bringing up a cloud of dust and debris in its wake. The Eva avoided two similar strikes and found itself facing the sphere that was targeting it, the ribbons dangling out of its body. Unit 10 opened up on the opponent with its rifle, punching a few holes into it, before the sphere retreated.
"Good job, but you have to keep moving," Aida said over the com. "You're not too far away from her."
"Roger," Shinji replied. Unit 10 continued its advance through the enemy attacks, dodging, shooting, and blocking with its AT Field. He reached the crevice where Joanna was hiding and stretched the Eva's arm, the claw resuming its shape, and deployed a large AT Field. The sphere's beam fire reflected off the field, some of the beams striking the spheres themselves, causing damage to several of them and even causing more than a few to explode. The spheres then withdrew a short distance as they maintained their relentless fire.
"Joanna!" Shinji yelled. "I'm here!" He saw the head of Unit 11 pop out of the crevice.
"Shinji?" He heard her voice over the com. "You're in that Eva?"
"Yeah," he replied. "We're getting out of here."
"They said they were sending help, but I didn't think it would be you."
"I'll explain later," Shinji said. "Get out of there now!"
"Energy link reestablished with Unit 11," Matsu said. "She's at full power." He paused for a few second before speaking again. "Unit 10's AT Field...Compared to other Evas, I've never seen anything like it before. You can see the phase shift so clearly." On the main monitor, all of them could see both Eva Units out in the open, beam fire from the spheres bouncing off Unit 10's AT Field.
"Unit 10 was designed to produce such fields," Hood answered him. "We never got it to work right, but he managed to do it."
"So far, so good then," Burke said. He then glanced over to Hood. When Hood saw it, he took a quick look on his monitor, and replied with the okay symbol.
"Throw everything we got at the enemy units over them," Aida said. "We also need to get weapons to both of them. That pallet rifle can't have that much ammo left."
"Working on it, but what weapons we can send them right now, they won't be too effective," Bertain said.
"Better than nothing," Aida said. "Do it."
Unit 11 had now joined its partner in holding up an AT Field, the spheres keeping up their fire. Many of them were getting destroyed by the city's weapons, but were getting replacements just as fast.
"Okay you two," Aida said. "Get ready to run for it. Joanna you're on offense. Take Unit 10's rifle, and shoot until you're out of ammo. Shinji, as your Eva can produce a stronger AT Filed, you'll be on defense. Use it to block as much fire as you can. Head to point D4, and we'll extract you there. We'll also provide weapons for he both of you if you need them."
"Roger," both of them replied.
"Ready for this?" Shinji then asked her as the rifle was handed to Unit 11.
"As good as I'll ever be," she replied. Shinji couldn't help but smile at that answer.
"Roger that," he then said.
"Go! Now," Aida said. Unit 10 dropped its AT Field and the two Evas bolted towards the extraction point, Unit 11 dodging enemy fire and shooting at multiple spheres while Unit 10 was blocking fire, and covering the other Eva, with its AT Field. Within seconds, the pallet rifle quit firing, which Unit 11 dropped.
"I'm out," Joanna yelled.
"Here comes more," Aida said. Both Shinji and Joanna then saw a small projectile shoot up from near the center of the city towards them. The projectile landed close to them and opened up, revealing two hand guns. Without slowing down, both Evas each grabbed a gun, and while not missing a step, they began shooting at their targets as if it was a scene from an action movie.
Several spheres deployed their ribbons and lashed out at the Evas. The two avoided the attacks, but one ribbon did make contact with Unit 10. Instead of striking the Eva, one ribbon wrapped itself around its arm. Before Shinji could react, a ribbon from another sphere grabbed the Eva's leg. Ribbons from two other spheres captured the remaining free appendices. Shinji could see the spheres that captured him floating above, the centers of all of them glowing a pale blue as they were about to fire.
"I got you," he heard Joanna yell before he saw a shadow come over him. Shinji looked up to discover that Unit 11 had done a back flip jump over him. When Joanna's Eva reached the highest point in its jump, it fired one shot at the center of each sphere as if the Eva was standing on the ground. The spheres exploded just as the Eva landed on the ground, the ribbons that held Unit 10 now fell off of it.
"Thanks," he said to her. "Let's go, we're almost there." The two Evas continued, and soon they could see the ground open up in front of them, revealing their final escape.
"Unit 11 goes in first," Aida said over the com. "Unit 10, cover its descent. It should only take a minute before we can retrieve you."
"Roger," Shinji replied.
"There's some firepower for you too in the meantime," Aida added. Shinji saw a weapons container come from the ground and open up revealing a Gatling gun. As Unit 11 began its descent, Unit 10 took the gun and unleashed a torrent of bullets on the nearest sphere, which exploded after a few seconds. Shinji was about to aim at another when he felt an explosion from behind him. He turned his head to find the elevator destroyed.
"Joanna?" he cried out. "Is she okay?"
"She's fine," Aida said. She was far enough down that she avoided the explosion. You're the one in danger now. Get to point...H10 now. We'll try to take you in there."
"Right. Heading there now," Shinji said. Unit 10 then ran in the assigned direction, either avoiding or destroying every sphere that he faced.
"How does Shinji look?" Burke asked.
"Still stable," Hood replied, "though I am detecting some fluctuation in his plug depth."
"How soon can we put Unit 11 back into action?" Kaji asked.
"Six minutes," Matsu answered.
"Cut what corners you can," Aida said.
"Message coming through from Wunder," Bertain announced. "They have broken through and are expected to arrive in thirty minutes.
"Acknowledge, and tell them to come in with guns blazing," Burke said. "How many enemies remain?"
"Fifty," Lithgow replied. "We're also down to forty-three percent combat effectiveness on our weapons systems."
"Change in enemy movement," Bertain then said. "Some enemy units are now targeting the energy transmission pillars."
"What?" Aida yelled. The main monitor showed a map of the city, the energy pillars represented by blue-colored dots. One by one, the dots were disappearing from the map.
"Are they trying to starve Unit 10 of power?" Matsu asked.
"This is getting too damn close," Burke muttered. We need to get Shinji back here now."
"And we're trying to, you know that," Kaji said. "We must have faith in Shinji, and that means having faith in the people here to do their job." On the main monitor, everyone could see Unit 10 running and fighting. They also saw the Gatling it was carrying run out of ammo.
"What can we give him?" Aida asked.
"A Magorox sword," Matsu replied.
"Send it out," Aida said. "The sooner he can get back here, the better," he then muttered.
Shinji saw the sword fly towards him, and had Unit 10 reach out and grab it by the handle. No sooner was the weapon secured then it was used to block a ribbon that launched a strike. The Eva then continued its escape, using the sword and AT Field to defend himself against attack. It seemed to Shinji that every sphere was coming down on him. He then heard a small chirp within the entry plug. A holographic screen popped up in front of him declaring that the Eva was now on battery power and the clock was running down from ten minutes.
"Batteries?" Shinji yelled. "How?"
"They took out all the transmission pillars while you were fighting them," Aida replied. We kept a few in reserve, but we're saving them for Unit 11 when Joanna relaunches. Your focus should be on getting back to base."
"Right," Shinji replied. Easier said than done, the then thought to himself. A pair of ribbons shot towards him, which he sliced through, followed by another pair from a different direction. Every time he sliced a pair of ribbons, more kept coming.
Shinji then saw a damaged building that was leaning away from him. He knew it was a better idea to stay as close to the ground as possible, but he didn't see any other way. Unit 10 ran towards the building and jumped on it. The Eva then ran up it and leaped off, landing on another building. Unit 10 jumped again to another building. Before the Eva could jump a third time, Shinji saw the surrounding buildings being destroyed by the spheres.
"So much for that," Shinji muttered. He made a leap in the direction of the extraction point, attempting to return to the ground, but a sphere swooped below him and deployed its AT Field. Unit 10 landed on the field as if it was on solid ground. Shinji was caught off guard, but he had Unit 10 jump again, just as a pair of ribbons shot out from the sphere towards it. For a second time, the Eva landed on top of a sphere's AT Field. Before it could jump again, a second sphere came upon from him from above and deploying its own Field, sandwiching Unit 10 between the two spheres. Shinji looked out ahead, and saw that the spheres were forming themselves into the exact same pattern as the one they used to launch the massive beam attack on the city. Instead of aiming the beam at the city like it did before, he saw that the beam would hit him.
He saw on his timer that he had four minutes of power left. He didn't have even 40 seconds. So damn close, he thought to himself. He was just about there. There was some cold consolation that he was able to save Joanna and prove to himself and others that he could pilot the Eva without anything bad happening. He had to thank this city and its people for that. He knew that he couldn't go all out, that was too dangerous. At the same time, he didn't want to see this city and the people in to be destroyed. Shinji wanted to do more for everyone; not just Kaji, Burke, and the others, but the everyone in the city. He must find the balance between the two extremes. He gave a quick squeeze to the pendant in his pocket.
"Just give me enough," he whispered, though he wasn't certain whether he was talking to the Eva, or to himself. "Just enough..."
"Unit 10 is trapped," Bertain said. The main monitor showed the Eva in between the two spheres.
"Concentrate what fire you can on those two Units," Aida said. "Try not to hit him."
"We don't have much left, but will do," Lithgow replied.
"Can we launch Unit 11?" Burke asked.
"One minute," Matsu answered.
"When will the spheres fire?" Aida asked.
"We estimate it'll fire in twenty seconds," Bertain said.
"Three minutes, twenty seconds of active time remaining," Matsu said.
"This can't be happening," Burke muttered to himself. He glanced over to Kaji. He was silent, but he sensed apprehension from the look on his face. Is he regretting sending Shinji out there, he thought to himself. Everyone then saw on the main monitor the two spheres that were containing Unit 10 exploded at the same time.
"We didn't destroy those," Lithgow said. "Unit 10 has disappeared!"
"Where did it go?" Aida asked as he scanned the monitor screen looking for it.
"Checking telemetry," Matsu replied. "It's…It's above the enemy's firing formation! One kilometer up!"
"What?" Burke yelled. "How the hell did it get up there?"
"Uncertain, but it is falling towards the formation," Bertain said. They saw on the monitor the formation, and above it, Unit 10 appearing and swinging the sword at one of the spheres. It exploded in a massive cascade of energy, that energy spreading to the other spheres, causing them to explode as well. Several spheres that were able to break away from the chain reaction charged at the Eva as it was falling to the ground, unleashing a torrent of fire on their enemy, but the beams were blocked by Unit 10's field. The Eva landed on the building, and jumped again towards the enemy. It sliced through one of spheres, and after landing on another sphere's AT Field, jumped again towards a third, sword ready to strike. The targeted sphere unleashed its ribbons towards the Eva, those ribbons separating into individual strands, those strands taking seperate paths to their target in various curves and angles. Unit 10 slid past some, used its AT Field to block others, and used its sword to slice through the rest. It reached the sphere and destroyed it before continuing to the next one.
"Synchronization rate increasing," Matsu said. "Eighty-nine percent…ninety-three, continuing to climb."
"How much active time renaming?" Aida asked.
"Two minutes," Matsu answered.
"Plug depth now starting to decrease," Hood said.
"Unit 11 is ready for launch," Bertain said.
"Launch immediately," Burke said. "Have Joanna take out any remaining enemies." He then turned to Kaji. "We might have to have her take out Unit 10 as well," he whispered to Kaji, who still said nothing, continuing to watch the monitor.
They all saw Unit 10 continue its battle, dodging what beams and ribbons were targeting it. Against the intact or damaged buildings, or the spheres and their AT Fields, the Eva was bounding between each sphere at a high rate of speed. If it did not destroy a sphere, it did serious damage to them.
"100% sync rate," Matsu said. "Heartbeat and brainwave patterns show increasing stress."
"Plug depth at absolute limit," Hood added.
"How long before he reaches the Omega Point?" Burke yelled.
"Can't determine that," Hood replied. "With these readings, he might not do it at all, or it could be ten seconds from now." Burke headed over to to where both Hood and Aida were.
"Is it possible to lower or cut the sync rate completely?" he asked Hood.
"I already tried," Hood answered. "It's refusing any commands in that regard,"
"What about ejecting the entry plug?" Burke asked.
"It might be possible," Hood said, "but unless there is no choice, I think it's a bad idea. Once the plug it ejected, both the Unit and Shinji will be at the mercy of those things. There's no guarantee Unit 11 can rescue him."
"We only have a minute and a half left," Aida said. "Can't we just try talking to Shinji?"
"Communications should still be open..." Hood said.
"Smartest guys in the room..." Aida muttered as he turned to Bertain. "Can we make contact with Shinji?"
"We still have a channel," she replied.
"Shinji, do you hear me?" Aida asked him.
"Yeah," Shinji replied.
"Thank God," Aida muttered to himself before turning back to Shinji. "You need to disengage, and return to base."
"I want to, but these things won't let me," Shinji said. "They just keep coming." Aida turned to Lithgow.
"All remaining enemy units are now focusing on Unit 10," he said.
"Understood. We are concerned though that your readings are all going the wrong direction," Aida said.
"What?" Shinji said. "Everything feels normal to me. I'm not trying to do that." Aida turned to Hood, who signaled he was still sliding downward.
"Do what you can. We will try to help. Unit 11 is also coming to assist you. Just...Just try not to push it too hard."
"I won't," Shinji replied. "I don't want to do that."
"I know," Aida said.
"One minute remaining," Matsu said. "Do we reestablish energy link?"
"If it shuts down, the danger should be past," Bertain added.
"Hardly," Hood countered. "Shinji awakened Unit 01 after its internal batteries were drained and the Unit shut down. That scenerio is happening again." A chirping noise then emanated from Bertain's station.
"There is a high-velocity object coming towards us," she said. "It will enter the Charius defense sector in fifty-five seconds."
"They have reinforcements?" Burke asked.
"No sir, they're ours. I can confirm the signals of Units 02 and 08."
"Too little, too late," Burke muttered.
Joanna rushed Unit 11 to where the fighting was. The Eva reached the scene at last, and Joanna couldn't believe what she was seeing. Unit 10, jumping from one sphere to another, leaving destruction in its wake. With every swing of its sword, sphere after sphere was destroyed. She attempted multiple times to aim Unit 11's pallet rifle at a remianing sphere, but every sphere she got a lock on was destroyed by Unit 10 before she could fire. Shinji's unit continued its assault, eliminating its enemies one by one. Unit 10 landed on a building, leaped off and struck another sphere, destroying it. Unit 10 then found itself alone in the sky. There wasn't a single sphere remaining.
"Stand down Shinji," she heard Aida through the com. "It's over, you got them all."
"Okay," she then heard Shinji say. Joanna thought that he sounded tired. Unit 10 began to float down to the surface, passing through what cross-shaped explosions that still remained from the last spheres that were destroyed. At the same time, she thought she saw a rainbow in the sky above them, but she wasn't sure.
"Pretty," she said to herself as she took in the sight.
"I'd have to agree," a voice shook her out of her trance. Seconds later, Unit 08 landed to the left of her Eva followed by Unit 02 a few seconds after that on the right. "Don't you agree, Princess?" Mari then asked. There was no response from Unit 02. That Eva only raised its head to look at Unit 10's descent. Shinji's Eva then landed on the ground, where it went down to its knees and hunched over.
"Unit 10 has shut down. Retrieve pilot immediately," she then heard someone say over the com. Joanna let out a breath.
"Now what's going to happen?" she then asked herself.